Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.”┬áII Corinthians 8:13, 15

This passage is a part of a lengthy section of Scripture dealing with the subject of grace giving. Paul was giving instructions concerning money that was being given from several churches to help relieve the suffering of the saints. This is the biblical pattern of churches cooperating. It forms the Scriptural basis of what is often called faith promise giving, or grace giving, which is used for supporting missions and mission projects in many churches. As part of Paul’s detailed teaching about the grace of giving, he addressed the matter of equality in our participation in giving. “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.”

God never intended that the responsibility of supporting His work be a burden that was borne by only a few, but rather that it would be shared by all. This principle has many applications for the way God’s work is to be carried out in our day. The gospel ministry includes such things as witnessing, missions, teaching, discipleship, etc. Every part of the ministry requires laborers and finances to get this great work accomplished. Who has been given the responsibility of supporting these local and worldwide projects? Clearly, the Lord has assigned this responsibility to every Christian and to every church. It is not His desire that a small percentage of His children be “burdened” with the entire responsibility of carrying out His work, while others are unwilling to participate. God’s plan is for everyone to do his part. Serving and giving is both the privilege and the duty of every Christian and every church member.

Later in this teaching Paul writes, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7). Every individual is to seek the Lord about his or her role, and trust the Lord for His leadership. But, everyone should be doing his part. In too many churches, those who are willing to work and serve are overloaded, often because of those who are unwilling to do their share. If God’s work was being done God’s way, everyone would be letting God direct and would be cheerfully doing his part.